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News Story

IRS And Justice Going After Secret Swiss Accounts

Suddenly those secret Swiss bank accounts don’t sound so appealing — or so secret.

By David S. Hilzenrath
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — At the Beverly Hills office of criminal defense lawyer Edward M. Robbins Jr., anxious new clients are showing up with an unexpected problem.
The clients put money in Swiss bank accounts, where it was supposed to stay secret. But now those depositors fear the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department will gain access to their bank records, Robbins said.
“They’re coming in from the cold. They’re nervous,” Robbins said.
For Full Story

Judge Orders White House To Produce Memo On Warrantless Wiretaps

The controversy rages on in the waning days of the Bush Administration.Judge Kennedy-photo beverly reznick


By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON – A judge has ordered the Justice Department to produce White House memorandums that provide the legal basis for the Bush administration’s post-Sept. 11 warrantless wiretapping program.
The judge, Henry H. Kennedy Jr. of Federal District Court in Washington (in photo), signed the order Friday. It requires the department to produce the memorandums by the White House legal counsel’s office by Nov. 17. He said he would review the memorandums to determine whether any information could be released publicly without violating attorney-client privilege.
The order came in response to lawsuits by civil liberties groups in 2005 after news reports disclosed the wiretapping.
The department had argued that the memorandums were protected attorney-client communications.
For Full Story

Read Judge’s Ruling

Bolivia Suspends DEA Operations After Accusing Agency Of Spying

Bolivia’s ties with the U.S. continue to weaken with this latest development. The DEA isn’t getting a lot of invites to dinner in certain South American countries these days.

President Evo Morales/official photo

President Evo Morales/official photo

By Patrick J. McDonnell
Los Angeles Times
BUENOS AIRES — Bolivian President Evo Morales suspended operations by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on Saturday after accusing the agency of aiding “criminal groups” that oppose his rule.
Morales’ move was the latest sign of the deterioration in relations between his leftist government and Washington.
“There were DEA agents who worked to conduct political espionage and to fund criminal groups so they could launch attacks on the lives of authorities, if not the president,” Morales told reporters during a visit to the Chapare region, a major production zone for coca plants, from which cocaine is extracted. “We are obligated to defend Bolivian sovereignty.”
For Full Story

Unrepentant Sen. Stevens Trashes Prosecution On Campaign Trail

Even after his conviction, Sen. Ted Stevens isn’t admitting any wrongdoing on the campaign trail. In fact, he’s telling voters the only ones who have done something wrong are the prosecutors.

Sen. Stevens Back Home/campaign web page

Sen. Stevens Back Home/campaign web page


By William Yardley
New York Times
ANCHORAGE – If Senator Ted Stevens is feeling down about his felony convictions, his uphill battle for re-election or the sudden supremacy of another Republican, Gov. Sarah Palin, on the Alaskan political stage, it would be tough to tell from the crunch of determination that has long shaped his face.
Even in good times, Mr. Stevens was never much of a smiler – though he was wearing a rare grin this week when he arrived home.
“Is he down?” said Bill Sheffield, a former Alaska governor and a close friend. “No, he’s pretty up and thinks he’ll be vindicated.”
For Full Story

Feds Find $875,000 In Seized Dope Car 4 Years Later

As the old adage goes, better late than never.

By Rhonda Cook
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
ATLANTA — The Hummer limousine seized from the drug-dealing Black Mafia Family almost four years ago had been sold at auction, then sold three times more. It had been carrying teenagers to proms and brides and grooms to weddings.
But as federal officials prepared for a June trial, they “debriefed” other BMF members and learned agents missed something when they searched the Hummer.
The Hummer H2 stretch limousine was seized in 2004 during a raid of one of the Black Mafia Family’s stash houses in northwest Atlanta.
In August, agents tracked down the car, looked underneath the seats and found $875,000 in cash and seven brand new semi-automatic weapons, believed to be proceeds from BMF cocaine transactions.
The four “innocent owners,” according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert McBurney, knew nothing.
For Full Story

Tax Protestors Conspired To Undermine Trial And Get Federal Judge Arrested

This , as they say, is one for the books.

By JAMES WALSH
Minneapolis Star Tribune
MINNEAPOLIS — The strange saga of Robert Beale didn’t exactly end last month with his 11-year sentence for fraud and tax evasion. Another chapter concluded Monday when Beale and two other tax protesters were found guilty of conspiracy to impede an officer and obstruction of justice.
A federal jury convicted Beale, 65, Frederick Bond, 63, and John Pelton, 67, of trying to prevent U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery from presiding over a criminal trial — namely, Beale’s — “by force, intimidation and threat.” Another man, Norman Pool, pleaded guilty last month to one count of conspiracy to impede an officer.
Prosecutors said the four men held a “common law court” to issue false liens and fictitious arrest warrants against Montgomery.
Full Story

Read FBI Affidavit

Administration Rejecting FBI Pleas For More Agents To Investigate Financial Mess

Is the Bush administration falling short in probing the financial mess? Some say yes.

By Paul Shukovsky and Daniel Lathrop
Seattle P-I Reporters
The Bush administration is rejecting FBI pleas for more agents to investigate crimes that helped trigger the global financial meltdown, bureau sources said this week.
“They are bogged down big-time or there would be some indictments by now,” said a recently retired bureau official who played a pivotal role in setting FBI policy after 9/ 11.
The FBI’s response to the meltdown stands in sharp contrast to past financial crises, he said. “There are three comparable things … the S&L crisis, corporate fraud like Enron and health care fraud. There was a clear, well-delineated effort there. I don’t see it here.”
For Full Story

Homeland Security Surveillance System In Cook County Could Be Worthless

Homeland Security Could Have Thrown out $40 million in Illinois.

Dave Savini
CHICAGO (CBS) – It’s called Project Shield and will cost you more than $40 million when it’s done, leaving U.S. taxpayers footing the bill for a countywide high-tech surveillance program. So why is the homeland security project busted?
Police sources told CBS 2’s Dave Savini that taxpayers got ripped off and that all the cameras and software in the world are meaningless if they don’t work.
CBS 2 Investigators sifted through government contracts and confidential emails revealing how Project Shield’s pot of money was dished out. The trail led to bankrupt companies, phony addresses and falsified documents — not the words you want to hear when talking about terrorism and your tax dollars.
Project Shield continues to be touted as a state-of-the-art video surveillance system. Federal tax dollars paid for it to be installed in squad cars and on towers throughout Cook County.
“It’s a waste of taxpayer money,” said East Hazel Crest Police Chief Ray Robertson. “I can’t get it to work on a daily basis.”
For Full Story